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Pope in Virginia - Halleck and McClellan "Second Bull
Run” – Lee in Maryland — Antietam.
General Pope issued an address to the Army of Virginia on the 14th of July - a "Western" utterance, more in Stanton's manner than Lincoln's. A bold attitude, with something of audacity in proclamation, was not unprecedented in a commander setting out on an arduous campaign; but jealous Generals were offended by what seemed an invidious comparison of military operations east and west, and by these expressions most of all: “I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry to find much in vogue amongst you. I hear constantly of taking strong positions and holding them — of lines of retreat and bases of supplies. Let us discard such ideas. The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can most easily advance against the enemy. Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves." In general orders (July 18th) he announced that for the future, “as far as practicable the troops of this command will subsist upon the country in which their operations are carried on”— vouchers to be given to the owners of property taken and payment to be made at the end of the war, on proof of loyalty "since the date of the vouchers.” An outcry was made against the General in some quarters on account of this and another order aimed to suppress guerrilla disturbances; though he was, in fact, introducing no methods that were novel, and only obeying superior authority. *
Some days earlier Pope had ordered Banks to send a cavalry force to Gordonsville, breaking the railway communication with Richmond; and McDowell, holding Fredericksburg, was to do like service in his front. The troopers of Banks only got as far as Madison Courthouse, Ewell having come in before them at Gordonsville on the 16th.
On the 3d of August McClellan received this order from Halleck: "It is determined to withdraw your army from the Peninsula to Acquia Creek. You will take immediate measures to effect this, covering the movement the best you can. Its real object and withdrawal should be concealed from your own officers. Your material and sick should be removed first.” McClellan's earnest protest was ineffectual. On the 6th he was ordered to send immediately a regiment of cavalry and several batteries to Burnside's command already withdrawn to Acquia Creek — and was told that Jackson was reported to be moving north with a very large force. Halleck further informed the Gen
*"I will issue to-morrow an order giving my comments on Mr. John Pope. I will strike square in the teeth of all his infamous orders, and give directly the reverse instructions to my army : forbid all pillaging and stealing, and take the highest Christian ground for the conduct of the war.”—General McClellan to his wife, August 8, 1862. (“McClellan's Own Story," p. 463.)
eral that the order of August 3d would not be recalled, but that he was “expected to execute it with all possible promptness.'
The new General-in-chief had visited the camp at Harrison's Landing on the 25th of July, and had given full consideration to the representations made then or since in opposition to removing the army from the James. In a letter to McClellan (August 6th), Halleck gave these substantial reasons for his decision, communicated three days before:
You and your officers at our interview estimated the enemy's forces in and around Richmond at two hundred thousand men. Since then you and others report that they have received, and are receiving, large reinforcements from the South. General Pope's army, covering Washington, is only about forty thousand. Your effective force is only about ninety thousand. You are thirty miles from Richmond, and General Pope eighty or ninety, with the enemy directly between you, ready to fall with his superior numbers upon one or the other, as he may elect; neither can reinforce the other in case of such an attack. If General Pope's army be diminished to reinforce you, Washington, Maryland and Pennsylvania would be left uncovered and exposed. If your force be reduced to strengthen Pope, you would be too weak to even hold the position you now occupy, should the enemy turn round and attack you in full force. In other words, the old Army of the Potomac is split into two parts, with the entire force of the enemy directly between them.
But you will reply, Why not reinforce me here, so that I can strike Richmond from my present position ? To do this you said at our interview that you required thirty thousand additional troops. I told you that it was impossible to give you so many. You finally thought you would have some chance of success with twenty thousand. But you afterward telegraphed me that you would require thirty-five thousand, as the enemy was being largely reinforced.
To keep your army in its present position until it could
be so reinforced would almost destroy it in that climate. The months of August and September are almost fatal to whites who live on that part of James River; and even after you received the reinforcements asked for, you admitted that you must reduce Fort Darling and the river batteries before you could advance on Richmond. It is by no means certain that the reduction of these fortifications would not require considerable time — perhaps as much as those at Yorktown.
In regard to the demoralizing effect of a withdrawal from the Peninsula to the Rappahannock, I must remark that a large number of your highest officers — indeed, a majority of those whose opinions have been reported to me — are decidedly in favor of the movement. Even several of those who originally advocated the line of the Peninsula now advise its abandonment.
Pope's situation was becoming perilous. On the 8th of August the enemy appeared on the Rapidan, and Bayard's cavalry slowly retired toward Culpeper Courthouse. Crawford's brigade was ordered to Cedar Mountain in support of Bayard. On the 9th, Banks was directed to move the rest of his corps to join Crawford. Towards evening on the roth, Banks, having advanced two miles from the position occupied during the day, hitherto without discovering any considerable force in his front, encountered Early's brigade, and was soon engaged with a large share of Jackson's command. In the spirited action which followed, Banks was beaten, with the loss of 314 killed and 1,446 wounded. Jackson lost 241 killed and 1,361 wounded.
General King, called from Fredericksburg, brought up his division on the 11th, which day both parties had spent in burying their dead at Cedar Mountain. Reno's division arrived on the 14th, and an advance was made — the right, under Sigel, resting on Rob
ertson River; McDowell holding both flanks of Cedar Mountain; and other forces extending the line on the left to near Raccoon Ford. Soon an intercepted letter of General Lee definitely disclosed his purpose to mass his main forces against Pope, seeking to engage and crush him before reinforcements should arrive from the Peninsula. More than two weeks had passed since McClellan was ordered to withdraw from the James, but Pope had received no help as yet from that quarter. He retired across the Rappahannock, dexterously and without loss, during the night of the 18th and the day following. Ten days before (August 9th), Halleck had telegraphed to McClellan: "I am of the opinion that the enemy is massing his forces in front of Generals Pope and Burnside, and that he expects to crush them and move forward to the Potomac. You must send reinforcements instantly to Acquia Creek. Considering the amount of transportation at your disposal, your delay is not satisfactory. You must move with all possible celerity.” And again on the ioth: “The enemy is crossing the Rapidan in large force. They are fighting General Pope to-day. There must be no further delay in your movements. That which has already occurred was entirely unexpected, and must be satisfactorily explained.”
McClellan's plea of want of transportation was thus met in Halleck's dispatch of the 12th: “The Quartermaster-General informs me that nearly every available stcam vessel in the country is now under your control.
Burnside moved nearly thirteen thousand troops to Acquia Creek in less than two days, and his transports were immediately sent back to you. All the ves